Like most things you own, jewelry needs a little maintenance. You wouldn’t drive your car without oil changes. You wouldn’t wear your clothes without washing them. Your jewelry needs a little care, too. But jewelry maintenance doesn’t have to take up much time or money. These FIVE TIPS will help you keep your jewelry healthy at no cost to you.
KEEP JEWELRY SEPARATED
Keep your pieces of jewelry from potentially scratching each other while they are being stored. This seems like such a simple thing, but diamonds, especially, are really hard and can scratch softer gemstones and metals. It’s so easy to throw all your jewelry into a bag when you’re traveling, but that’s when a lot of gemstone abrasion happens. Keep jewelry in individual little bags or in a jewelry box with separate compartments. Necklaces should be hung up when not around your neck. Otherwise they can get kinked or tangled.
PROFESSIONALLY CLEAN JEWELRY
Get your finer pieces jewelry professionally cleaned at a store, like Dearborn Jewelers, that offers free cleaning. You will be amazed at how your engagement and wedding rings sparkle after they go through the ultra sonic cleaner! Nothing works better on diamond jewelry. But not all jewelry is cleaned the same way. We’ve had people bring in the disasterous results of self-cleaning their jewelry in ways that weren’t appropriate for the piece. Many times we’re able to rectify the situation, but we can’t erase the unnecessary panic you went through when you saw your favorite bracelet or ring blackened and dull. Cleaning at our store usually takes less than 10 minutes, and you’ll feel more confident when it’s being done by professionals.
HAVE CLASPS AND PRONGS CHECKED
While you’re in the store getting your rings cleaned, have the jewelry professional check the prongs under a microscope. Small metal prongs keep gemstones from falling out of their settings. Because metal does wear over time, especially on rings that naturally get banged or scratched more than pendants or earrings, these prongs become thinner, weaker, and less able to do their job. While re-tipping original prongs or replacing old prongs is not a free service, it is free to have your prongs checked so that you know their current capability. We suggest doing so once a year. Many people choose a specific time of year, like their anniversary or birthday, to remind them to take advantage of this service.
Some gemstones require a little extra care. We recently hosted the Pearl Goddess, Betty Sue King, and she suggests placing your strand of pearls in a soft, slightly dampened cloth, then blotting the pearls to remove oils. Too much water will weaken the material on which the pearls are strung, but leaving your body oils on the pearls can eat away at their nacre. Do not pull on the strand as you clean the pearls. Teri, at Dearborn Jewelers, always says that her pearls are “the last thing she puts on in the morning and the first thing she takes off in the evening.” NEVER spray hairspray while wearing pearls!
SPECIAL CARE FOR OPALS
Opals naturally have a water content of around 3 – 10%, and, if they get too dried out, they can crack or craze. It gets so dry here in Michigan during the winter. I like to keep my opal in a little airtight bag with a dampened cotton ball or piece of cloth. I’ve heard terrible stories of opals that cracked while being stored in safety deposit boxes, which are kept extremely dry. Opals are stunning, and they are worth the extra care. Just remember that they like a little, but not too much water! It is not good to bathe an opal doublet or triplet in water. The glue between will layers will be weakened.
Maintaining your pieces with these free and simple tips can help your jewelry have a long and healthy life.